Rs. 359.93 crores pending in annual recurring fees from Goa casinos

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Goa casinos which restarted last month after a long Covid19 break owe Rs. 359 crores in outstanding annual recurring fee (ARF) to the state government. The data was released in response to a set of questions posed by Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte in the state assembly on October 19. On October 5, the government had issued a notification stating the schedule of payment for unpaid ARF for May 2021 to September 2021 will be specified along with the payment schedule for April 2020 to October 2020.

According to the response placed before the assembly, the state currently has 15 offshore and onshore casinos. All the casinos had paid Rs. 24.85 crores for the financial year 2021-22 up to October 7. A new on-shore casino application under the name ‘The Crown’ by Vision Dempo Hospitality is currently under process.

As disclosed in the Goa assembly

On the question of number of complaints relating to illegal casino operations and illegal activities in the casinos in the last 10 years, the government said only one incident of violation of license was registered in the year 2014 which is currently pending trial.

Regarding details of proposals to shift casinos from Mandovi river, the government refused to disclose details citing the ‘Rules of procedure and conduct of Business of the Goa Legislative Assembly.’

Locals in Panaji have voiced concerns repeatedly for years that the casinos that draw throngs of tourists, cause traffic congestion on Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, the road connected to the riverfront. Offshore casinos in Goa have been given an extension of twelve months recently to continue operating in the Mandovi river as the government is still identifying an alternative site for them.

While this is the first 12-month extension, according to government officials, the casinos have previously been granted a series of six-month extensions ever since they were first set up two decades ago. In a press meet post a cabinet meeting this month, Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant informed that till an alternative site is identified, the casinos would continue to operate from River Mandovi for another year.